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How To Write a Research Paper

Why cite?

Good research projects combine data from a variety of sources and carefully document the sources of information and ideas. Research documentation usually appears in two parts: short in-text citations occurring within the actual paper and a longer, complete list of works at the end of the paper called a bibliography, reference list, or works cited page. 

Besides giving credit to the source of information or ideas, there are other great reasons to cite in your research project:

  • Persuasiveness - Your writing will be more persuasive if you cite the research on which you based your own conclusions and arguments.
  • Sharing - Citations make it possible for your professor and other readers to examine interesting sources that you found.
  • Communication - Correct citations helps you communicate effectively with potential peers within a discipline.
  • Skills - Correct citation demonstrates your research and documentation abilities to your professor.
  • Avoid Plagiarism - Correct citation use helps protect you from plagiarizing.

Note: a hyperlink or URL included in the text is not the same as a citation. Ex: "Higher gas prices are on the way (cnn.com/specialreport)." URLs in the text, while common on the internet, are not considered a correct form of scholarly citation.

Why are citations important?

APA Citations